Thursday, February 14, 2013

Colours of Russian salaries

  Did you know that in Russia salaries can be white, black and sometimes grey?

чёрная зарплата (“black salary”) is the salary from which no taxes were paid. For example, you work somewhere, but not officially, so you get “black salary.” If they fire you, you won't be able to prove you worked there.

белая зарплата (“white salary”) is an official, legal salary from which you and your employer pay taxes, it’s what you officially get.

There is also a term «зарплата в конверте» - “salary in the envelope”, usually meaning black salary. You receive your salary in cash in an envelope.

There can also be серая зарплата, “grey salary”, when part of your salary is legal, white, and the other is not.

Of course black and grey salaries are illegal in Russia, but unfortunately they are quite common. Sometimes someone is ready to hire you only if you accept the black salary.

У него серая зарплата. - He gets grey salary.
Сколько ты чёрными получаешь? - What's your black salary?
Платить зарплату чёрными незаконно. - To pay black salary is illegal.


  1. It is called 'the black market'same thing really.

    1. It's not. According to Wikipedia, "A black market or underground economy is the market in which illegal goods are traded." Black salaries can be in any industry - you can get it when you work in office, shop, as a cleaner, designer, anyone.

      We have the same term in Russian for black market - чёрный рынок, and it's not directly related to чёрная зарплата.

    2. Now I am puzzled! Maybe the term for unofficial work, paid in cash not declared so avoiding taxation has another name all I know is that is referred to as being part of the 'black economy'. There is an expression here in the UK but I can't remember it right now!

    3. Oh and by the way I have just signed up as a follower. Do come over and see my blog.

    4. Already visited :)

      As I see it, black salaries are simply a part of black economy among other things.

  2. Interesting post! Enjoyed reading it.


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